Assessment is an essential part of the educational process at St. Lawrence College for a number of reasons. Amongst other things, assessment provides teachers, pupils and parents with a clear idea of any child’s progress and gives very good indications about how well concepts have been understood. This then enables teachers to adjust their lessons and approach in order to maximise learning.

Types of assessment

Assessment is a continuous process and is achieved using a variety of methods which fall broadly into two categories:

A. Formative Assessment

Formative assessment is an ongoing process which gives pupils the chance to demonstrate what they have learnt. Formative assessment does not involve marking or grade assigning, but helps teachers understand whether a concept has been understood by a pupil. In return, pupils can expect specific, constructive written feedback from their teachers on all pieces of work which will clearly indicate how to further improve. There are a host of activities which can be used as a basis for formative assessment. Examples include:

  • Written responses
  • Class discussions and activities
  • Group work
  • Presentations

B. Summative Assessment

Summative assessment focuses on testing what a pupil has learned. Summative assessment tasks are graded and the marks are used to form Progress Marks and Report grades. Types of summative assessment include:

  • Project work
  • Essays/Writing Tasks
  • Tests

Within each school year a pupil will receive 5 summative assessment marks, which illustrate his/her progress.

Electronic Progress Marks (EPMs)

Electronic Progress Marks (EPMs) are issued in October, February and April. Each pupil is given a mark out of 20 for each subject, based on summative assessment tasks. Departments may also give pupils a mark for the presentation of notebooks/files and may adjust an EPM based on behaviour/class contribution. The average EPM of the class is also calculated in order to provide a point of reference for pupils’ collective progress.

For more specific details on EPMs, please refer to individual departmental assessment policies.

Reports

All pupils receive two reports per year. Pupils in Years 7-10 receive reports in December and June while those in Years 11-13 are issued with reports in December and April/May. Each pupil receives a comment from each of their subject teachers and a term grade ranging from A-F. This grade is based on averaging marks given for summative assessment and can be read as follows:

A = 80%-100%
B = 65%-79%
C = 50%-64%
D = 40%-49%
E = 30%-39%
F = 0%-29%

Moreover, pupils are given a grade for effort ranging from E (Excellent) to P (Poor). Reports also feature each pupil’s exam mark from their most recent exam session, as well as the class average mark and the pupil’s position within the class.

Apart from their grades, pupils receive a) a comment from their form teacher, which may not just be about academic achievements but also about the pupil’s contribution to the school as a whole, and b) a final comment from the Headmaster or Deputy Head.

Examinations

Each year group gets examined on a regular basis. There are three different exam sessions which happen at various times within the school year.

Internal Exams

  • Internal exams last for one week and take place in November and June
  • Years 11, 12 and 13 take internal exams only in November

Mock Exams

  • Public exam candidates in Years 11, 12 and 13 take mock exams at specially scheduled times.
  • Mock exams are held in February/March for Year 11s and April/May for Years 12 and 13.
  • Mock exams closely replicate public exam conditions in order to help prepare our pupils and are a useful indicator of areas which need further work in the weeks which follow.

Public Exams

  • Year 11 takes Cambridge IGCSE exams in May/June
  • Years 12 and 13 take Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and Advanced (A) Level exams in May/June
  • Exam boards for AS and A Level exams are Cambridge, Edexcel and Pearson
  • Results of all public examinations are issued in August

Evaluation and Monitoring Tests

In April/May Year 9 pupils sit the Insight Test produced by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring based at Durham University. This is a series of on-line tests, which measure knowledge and understanding of the core curriculum subjects Reading, Mathematics and Science. The results are used for evaluation purposes and provide useful data which can be used in a number of ways such as:

  • to evaluate the effectiveness of the school’s assessment and teaching practices and make adjustments where necessary
  • to compare teacher and pupil performance over the years and ultimately improve teaching and learning
  • to give a general indication of the skills a pupil has and how these skills might be applied in future studies
  • to show weaknesses pupils may have which can then be focused on and improved
  • to provide a clear indication of where each pupil is in relation to assessment bands as set out by the UK Department of Education
  • to directly compare the progress of our pupils with those of other schools around the world